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Registered nurses, or RNs, are licensed medical professionals who care for patients who are ill, injured or recovering from surgery. While most registered nurses work in hospitals, many also find work in physician's offices and nursing and residential care facilities, or with government contractors or in home health care. Common tasks performed by registered nurses include:

  • Recording patient's medical histories and symptoms
  • Administering medicines and treatments
  • Helping perform diagnostic tests
  • Operating medical equipment
  • Advising patients on how to continue their treatment at home

In order to become a registered nurse in Florida, students must complete a nursing education program at an accredited school. Florida nursing schools offer associate degrees in nursing that take two years to complete and bachelor's degrees in nursing that typically take four years to complete. After submitting an application for licensure along with identification and applicable fees, applicants have to pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam in order to earn their credentials.

Fast Facts for Registered Nurses in Florida

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 163,950 registered nurses were employed in Florida in 2014. The following regions employed the bulk of these workers that year:

  • Fort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach - Deerfield: 14,420
  • Miami - Miami Beach - Kendall: 26,340
  • Gainesville: 5,610
  • Orlando - Kissimmee - Sanford: 19,050
  • Jacksonville: 13,890
  • Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater: 25,180
  • Cape Coral - Fort Myers: 4,800
  • Lakeland - Winter Haven: 4,380
  • Palm Bay - Melbourne - Titusville: 4,090
  • Deltona - Daytona Beach - Ormond Beach: 4,060
  • Pensacola - Ferry Pass - Brent: 4,040

Although employment is already high for registered nurses in Florida, more jobs may be on the way. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor's Projections Central, job openings for registered nurses in Florida are expected to surge 22.6 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Registered Nursing Salaries in Florida

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, registered nurses in Florida earned an annual mean wage of $62,720 in 2014, which works out to $30.15 per hour. That's slightly less than the national annual mean wage for this profession in 2014, which was $69,790.

Nationally, the following industries paid the highest salaries for registered nurses in 2014:

  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers: $84,200
  • Insurance ad Employee Benefit Funds: $82,030
  • Federal Executive Branch: $80,510
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises: $76,090
  • Oil and Gas Extraction: $75,590

Florida Registered Nursing Schools


SABER College

SABER College is a private, two-year not-for-profit school located in Miami. In addition to nursing degrees, SABER College offers other associate degree and non-degree options in several health care professions. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to $42,475, and 92 percent of students graduated on time during the 2011-12 school year.


University of Florida

Located in Gainesville, the University of Florida offers a wide range of certificate programs, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees and doctoral degree programs. Enrollment included 49,459 students in 2014, and tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were only $6,313 for in-state students. During the Fall 2008 semester, 88 percent of students graduated on time.


University of Miami

With an enrollment of 16,674, the University of Miami offers career certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees and doctoral degrees. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were $44,350 and a full 81 percent of students graduated on time during the Fall 2008 semester, which is the last time the school reported.


Azure College

Azure College offers a wide range of degrees in health care and allied health professions. That includes their registered nursing program which culminates in an Associate's degree. Tuition and fees were $35,500 for the 2014-15 school year and the school's total enrollment included almost 400 students that year.


Florida State University

Located in the state capital of Tallahassee, Florida State University is a public, four year school with a student population of 41,226. Tuition and fees for in-state students were only $6,507 in 2014, and 79 percent of students graduated on time during the Fall 2008 semester.


Taylor College

Taylor College is a two-year, private school that offers associate degrees and certificate programs in fields like registered nursing, physical therapy assisting, and pharmacy technician. Current enrollment includes approximately 150 students and tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were $14,224. During the Fall 2011 semester, 79 percent of Taylor students graduated on time.


Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations

The Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations offers degrees and certificates that prepare students for careers as registered nurses, paramedics, patient care technicians, and rehab/restorative assistants. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were $26,113 and approximately 424 students were enrolled that year. During the 2011-12 school year, 75 percent of students graduated on time.


University of Central Florida

With an enrollment of 60,767 students, the University of Central Florida is the largest school in the state. As a consequence, they offer one of the widest ranges of degree programs for students seeking degrees in nursing and other professions. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were $6,368 for in-state students, and 70 percent of students graduated on time during the Fall 2008 semester.


Metro Areas Rated for Salary and Popularity

Region

Employment per 1,000 Residents

Annual Mean Wage in 2014

Fort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach - Deerfield

19.03

$69,530

Miami - Miami Beach - Kendall

25.14

$63,900

Gainesville

45.67

$60,660

Orlando - Kissimmee - Sanford

17.65

$61,420

Jacksonville

23.11

$63,010

Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater

21.30

$63,810

Cape Coral - Fort Myers

21.40

$56,720

Lakeland - Winter Haven

21.93

$57,930

Palm Bay - Melbourne - Titusville

21.22

$61,060

Deltona - Daytona Beach - Ormond Beach

25.92

$56,930

Pensacola - Ferry Pass - Brent

25.82

$54,370

Expert Q&A

To learn more about Florida registered nursing schools and training programs, we reached out to Kim Curry, PhD, ARNP, FAANP, Interim Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Florida College of Nursing.

What are some of the unique issues that registered nurses face in the state of Florida?

Florida is a very populous, diverse state with a large proportion of aging individuals. Therefore, nurses who practice in Florida have to be prepared to care for diverse populations with complex medical issues.

What is the greatest benefit of practicing this field within the state of Florida?

Because of the large population of diverse people in ages, backgrounds and lives, there are many types of career opportunities for nurses in Florida. In addition, it is projected that many more nurses will be needed to care for the growing population of older adults , resulting in a positive career outlook for a profession that is always in demand.

How will the job of a registered nurse change in the next 10 to 20 years?

Advances in healthcare science and technology are making health care even more complex, so it is imperative that nurses are well-educated and prepared to meet these demands. In addition, health care reform will mean more people are seeking health care. Registered nurses will be needed to meet these increasing demands for care.

How does your school prepare future nurses for their careers? Are there any specific programs you offer that help your school stand out?

We are proud to have a heritage of educating nursing leaders. About 80 percent of the students who graduate from our bachelor's degree program will pursue graduate study within 3 years of graduation. This is an impressive figure because it means our graduates will be the nursing leaders of the future.

In addition, we have a large doctor of nursing practice program (DNP) preparing advanced practice nurses, including primary care clinicians and specialty tracks. These clinicians will help bridge gaps in care for many Americans. We also have the state's oldest PhD program in nursing and are proud of our legacy of producing nursing scholars and educators. We are continuing to grow our undergraduate program by expanding enrollment to our Jacksonville campus for our accelerated BSN program and increasing enrollment in our online RN to BSN program for registered nurses seeking bachelor's degrees.

Sources:

  1. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=FL&p=51.3801
  2. Licensed Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse by Examination, Florida Board of Nursing, http://floridasnursing.gov/licensing/licensed-practical-nurse-registered-nurse-by-examination/
  3. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  4. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Florida, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_fl.htm
  5. Registered Nurses, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
  6. Registered Nurses, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm
  7. Interview with Kim Curry, PhD, ARNP, FAANP, Interim Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Florida College of Nursing
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